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Fall of a City



Semple was perplexed as he sat on Boyd’s sofa engaged in the news streaming from the flat screen on the wall. He had not tried to focus this much on television since the Olympics. He sensed all the human tragedy in Kabul. But being who he was, he could not quite grasp all the reportage.

“One thing I don’t get, Boyd. They keep saying the fall of Kabul. I don’t get the language. It’s not like an earthquake hit and all the buildings toppled over.”

“Of course not, Semple. It’s just a way to express things. It’s like when you drop from a favorable position. Like a fall from grace.”

Fall from Grace is a Tyler Perry movie. I knew Phylicia Rashad was going in a wrong direction when she played that Sarah Miller/Betty Mills part. I can see where people like that wouldn’t be the best thing for Kabul.”

“Not the point,” replied an exasperated Boyd. “I can’t with you sometimes. I mean fall from grace like Lucifer from heaven, that kind of event.”

“So Lucifer in Kabul?”

“He’s supposed to be all over the place. But let’s try to stick to what is puzzling you. They’re talking about the fall of the government, the toppling of the government to use your word.”

“But what was grace?”

“Well, I’m thinking that grace was democracy, elections, women’s rights, liberalism. That was grace is what I’m thinking. So unfortunately that project is over because control of the country has fallen into the hands of religious zealots who are against that project.”

“So control has fallen or the country has fallen? Seems like what you really saying is that fall really means passing from one power to another. Fall is transfer. I can understand it that way. I’m just thinking about the forty million people of Afghanistan. Was they all benefiting from the grace? A couple of trillion was spent on all this. I’m seeing that as what smart business people call an investment. Somebody had to be making a lot of profit for this thing to have been stretched out twenty years. U.S. bosses ain’t throwing away two trillion without them books being right. I don’t think they really were worried about how much grace was being spread round the country. And they not abandoning the project, as you call it, unless they need for other books to get more right. They just misplayed the board. Thought they had enough time to make it hold together until they got all their plans in play. Thought they could shift to one side without realizing how fast the checkmate was gonna come down on the other side.”

“I forgot how much you liked chess, Semple. Perhaps I will grant that the game is an intriguing metaphor in which to couch a geopolitical analysis.”

“I ain’t that good. I just move the pieces. I don’t know if you should call it an analysis.”

“But I would like to hear you say more.”

“It’s a really long story. Chess was invented in Asia 1,500 years ago.”

#keithgilyard #semple #kabul